Apple

The slate of apps include programs that let companies plan their travel costs, improve customer retention for insurance agents, and more.


Paul Sakuma/Feature Photo Service for IBM

The partnership between Apple and IBM is starting to bear some fruit.


The companies, which formed a deal earlier this year that would see them work together to deliver apps to the enterprise, have released 10 apps as part of the IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions suite. The apps span several industries, including travel, banking, and government, and are all designed for corporate customers.


Plan Flight, for instance, is designed for pilots to manage their in-flight activities to help airlines save costs. Another, called Retention, targets the insurance industry to help agents improve retention of their top customers. The government-focused apps focus on helping caseworkers and crime prevention.


Apple and IBM announced their partnership in July. The pact will see the companies create over 100 vertical-focused enterprise apps built exclusively for the iPhone and iPad. In addition, IBM's cloud services will be optimized for iOS and the giant enterprise-focused company will sell Apple products bundled with the developed software to companies around the globe. Apple's support platform, AppleCare, will also be tailored for IBM customers and include on-site support from IBM employees.


The move was a surprising, but exceedingly important one for Apple. Over the last few years, Apple has been saying how its mobile devices have been increasingly entering the corporate world. With each quarterly earnings call, the company's executives have shared how many Fortune 500 companies have so far adopted or tested iOS products. As of this writing, nearly all are at least testing the company's products to see if they make sense for corporate use.


The shift in mobile device preference has shaken up the enterprise world. A relatively new craze, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), has prompted employees to bring historically consumer-focused products into the office to use for work. Apple has benefited greatly from the movement and IBM, which lives and dies by the corporate sword, obviously saw that value and formed the partnership with Apple.


For IBM, the deal with Apple provides easy access to customers that might otherwise not be using its solutions and the possibilities for an up-sell are great. IBM also can capitalize on Apple's cool factor -- something somewhat lacking historically from the IBM brand.


Apple and IBM confirmed on Wednesday that this is just the beginning and more apps are being developed. The companies plan to announced more apps in the future, but did not say when.


More to come...

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